She started climbing trees as a kid. Then this ecologist helped create scientist Barbie.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Nalini Nadkarni didn’t play with Barbies as a girl. She was too busy climbing the maple trees in her front yard in Bethesda, Md.

The forest ecologist might seem an unlikely person to help design and promote Barbie dolls. But over the past six months, she has been inspiring girls worldwide to play with dolls that have a magnifying glass and all-terrain boots instead of tiaras and high heels. It’s through new explorer Barbie dolls designed with her input by Mattel and National Geographic.

The line of dolls, which includes an astrophysicist, a conservationist, an entomologist, a marine biologist and a nature photojournalist, are long overdue, said Nadkarni, 65. Nadkarni is a University of Utah biology professor who studies rainforest canopies and how plants get their nutrients.

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